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Campaigners protest to save Grimshaw’s ‘Ship’

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Last night (9 March) protesters gathered outside Grimshaw’s ‘Ship’ building in Plymouth as part of a campaign to save the award-winning office scheme from demolition

The protest came as a petition was launched to save the Western Morning News HQ, which completed just 22 years ago.

The petition on change.org, has gained more than 320 supporters in less than a week, and is calling on the council to refuse permission for the building’s demolition and to ‘proactively encourage its retention and reuse’.

Plymouth Architectural Trust, which organised last night’s protest, said the demolition could mean the city would fail to attract high-profile architects in the future.

Secretary and treasurer of Plymouth Architectural Trust, Hilary Kolinsky, said: ‘The Trust believes that demolition would not only mean the sad loss of an iconic building, it would also significantly damage the national and international reputation of the city as a destination in which architecture is respected, and landmark buildings are valued. 

‘If demolition is permitted, developers could struggle to attract architects of national and international repute to undertake commissions within the city.  Given the recognised value of high-quality architecture as a driver of economic and cultural development, this could be a significant set-back to Plymouth’s wider ambitions to achieve international prominence as Britain’s Ocean City.’

Last month the Twentieth Century Society submitted an ‘urgent spot listing application’ for the former headquarters building after it emerged its owner – The Daily Mail – had submitted an application to demolish the landmark.

Both Nicholas Grimshaw and Richard Rogers have backed campaigners in their moves to protect the steel and glass building.  

The iconic building, which was completed in 1993, has stood empty since local title Western News moved out in July 2013.

Nicknamed The Ship, the hillside structure houses 5,671m² of offices and a further 6,459m² of production space and won Grimshaw a RIBA Award in 1994.

According to the planning documents, the building’s re-use is ‘unviable’ and it is currently in ‘a generally poor state of repair and is highly unsustainable’.

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Readers' comments (2)

  • If it was anyone else threatening the existence of such a fine modern building the Daily Mail could well be exercising their self-righteous indignation by shouting it from the rooftops - the 'Daily Hypocrite', perhaps?

    The owner's agent for the application for demolition was Indigo Planning, London - David Graham, the associate director named on the application, is described in their blurb as having a 'particular interest in heritage', and he's also an 'RTPI APC assessor, assessing planners who are looking to become chartered'..
    Indeed - it's reassuring to know that planning our built environment is in such good hands.

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  • Please save the 'Ship'

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